“Fish discover water last…In a similar way, we… discover trust last…We take it for granted-unless it becomes polluted or destroyed…Without trust, society closes down and will ultimately self-destruct.” -The Speed of Trust, page 273
If the almost two decades of Marcos rule gave the favored ones a taste of the sweet fruits of corruption in many facets of society, the nine years of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) managed to make corruption a standard worth emulating with the reasoning “everybody’s doing it” so why not do it well and get the most in every opportunity or better yet make an opportunity out of all transactions in your own place in the bureaucracy. What are we in power for, di ba?
It’s therefore not surprising that the Philippines earned the infamy as “the most corrupt in Asia” during GMA’s watch, while this distinction was just attributed to an individual during the time of Marcos, himself as “world's greatest thief’.
The Cost of Distrust
The lack of trust costs the Philippines not only investments but also goodwill from the community of nations. Worse is not just the loss of much needed resources to the pockets of politicians and their accomplices, but that the low morale and distrust slows down the forward march of the rest of Philippine society as there is much more disincentives to launch new businesses or initiatives.
As institutions created to check abuse and maintain balance power get corrupted as well, politicians and bureaucrats come up with new layers to the bureaucracy resulting in worsening red tape that creates new opportunities for corruption instead of solving it.
Even interactions between individuals whether business or personal are viewed with the colored lens of suspicion and doubt, instead of the clear lens of integrity and goodwill—it’s indeed a “dog eat dog world” and some of us see dogs as better companion than fellow humans. With so much distrust pervading, processes become cumbersome and excruciatingly slow, it’s no wonder the Philippines is in the worst shape it’s ever been in terms of societal goals of alleviating poverty and providing opportunities for its citizens to pursue personal happiness and economic well-being.
The 2010 Elections is about TRUST
Having sunk this low, I am of the opinion that Filipinos need to go back to basics-- the basics that keep society together and moving forward. Trust is what binds us, and distrust is what keeps us apart—disunity that lead to the fall of our nation.
That’s why I am with many Filipinos that view the May 10, 2010 Philippine national elections as about TRUST, having lost it over the years of politicians who lead by bad example and who cultivated a culture of impunity; a culture that places self-interest above all else; a culture that uses power and influence to get what one wants, including getting away with stealing, cheating, lying and even murder; a culture that flaunts “what are we in power for?”; a culture that teaches children that crime does pay.
While competence and track record are important, these must be within the overarching essence of TRUST. Are his/her competence, skills and intelligence effectively used to further societal goals and promote common good instead of furthering the interest of one’s family or corporation? Does he/she have a track record of doing good, consistently showing trustworthiness? Can you trust him/her to show integrity at every moment of choice, at every decision made in behalf of the Filipino people?
Yes, this election is about TRUST so I would look at how candidates conducted themselves during the campaign period, how is their campaign run, what issues were brought to light, who are they running with, what his/her party stands for, are the people associated with him/her (his partymates/guest candidates/endorsers) worthy of our trust; do they address issues about integrity head on or brush them aside as merely black propaganda or politically motivated?
I have spoken against a particular candidate who led the surveys before Cory Aquino died and before the clamor for Noynoy Aquino to run for President became intense enough for Aquino and the Liberal Party to seriously consider the possibility. I am truly concerned about what Manny Villar would do if ever he becomes President when he has already done a lot of questionable deeds while in Congress, many of which are related to conflict of interest that made billions for his companies. Read about my apprehensions about Manny Villar in a previous post.
Noynoy Aquino is the best choice for President
In the current field of presidential candidates, Noynoy Aquino is the best choice.
Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap is a message that resonates with me and I feel that Filipinos, both young and old….voters and children alike, need to hear. This is to counter and reverse the recent years’ consistent message that cheating, lying and stealing pays, and when caught, you can get away with it as long as you have the money, power and influence.
The other advantage of Noynoy Aquino over the other similarly trustworthy and qualified candidates is that he’s in the best position to counter massive cheating in the elections by the powers that be—something we know engineered and implemented successfully in the 2004 and 2007 elections. His convincing lead over the next two candidates in the most recent surveys is something that “special election engineers and magicians” would have a difficult time to reverse.
All that is left to do now and in the days leading to Election Day is for us to go out of our comfort zone and campaign for Noynoy Aquino; and on May 10, to go out and vote for Noynoy Aquino. Let’s do our part to restore dignity to our country and reverse our slide to ever deeper hole that we might not be able to climb out of. Let’s restore TRUST for our own sake and the sake of our children and their children… and peace and order, economic development and equity are more likely to be achieved in the years ahead than without trust restored. I know it won’t be easy and I don’t expect instant results, but I know it’ll come…it’ll be achieved…one step at a time.
There’s hope. Let’s take the first step…let’s restore TRUST.